Bike Touring
Cultural History
Fully Guided
Learn Local Ways
Tea Fields
Bike Tour Sri Lanka
Golden Temple
Sri Lanka Bike Tour

Spice Trails of Sri Lanka Bike Tour, 12 Days, Cycling Sri Lanka

5.00/5

From: £1,878

 

 

 

Sri Lanka’s landscape provides us with the perfect balance of challenge and reward. On this active tour, we’ll follow coastal roads, see the coloured sails of the local Karavas fishing boats. Visit local fish markets and catch the rather nicer aroma of the cinnamon being cooked as we cycle toward the hill country outside of Kandy on our way to the island’s highlights, the tea estates.

Get in touch
All about the Spice Trails of Sri Lanka Bike Tour, 12 Days, Cycling Sri Lanka.

Spice Trails of Sri Lanka Bike Tour

Sri Lanka, also known as the “Pearl of the Indian Ocean,” is blessed with year round sunshine and spectacular views, from every corner, of the surrounding Indian Ocean. It was known as Ceylon during the days of the British Empire here, and has gone through many changes on it’s way to modernization. With so much history like it’s peaceful Buddhist ruins, including the beautiful palace and frescoes of the 5th Century fortress Sigiriya, Cycling Sri Lanka is the perfect way to experience it’s treasures.

Sri Lanka’s landscape provides us with the perfect balance of challenge and reward. We’ll follow coastal roads, see the coloured sails of the local Karavas fishing boats. Visit local fish markets and catch the rather nicer aroma of the cinnamon being cooked as we cycle toward the hill country outside of Kandy on our way to the island’s highlights, the tea estates.

There will be moments that transform this cycling tour into an adventure tour, like cycling the red dirt tracks that wind through the countryside, with elephant grass on each side and sometimes, wild elephants themselves. Stop for a drink in the water gardens of Sigiriya, then climb Lion Rock for a spectacular view over the ruins.

And then there’s the wildlife! A bike tour is the perfect way to observe wildlife and you can expect to see a wide range, from small creatures like the mongoose and more than 400 species of bird, to the world’s largest creatures, the elephant on land and the mighty blue whale at sea. Sri Lanka is a dream destination for wildlife enthusiasts and a rewarding experience for all nature lovers.

Our bicycle journey will be on quiet back roads, estate tracks, and gravel paths. We cover 575 km in 9 cycling days, and much, if not most, of the terrain is undulating, and there are three days with more than 70 km of riding. When you combine the great variety of cycling with the cultural and natural attractions, there is plenty to delve into and enjoy.

Is This Tour Suitable for Me?

This ride is for those who have some biking experience, as well as experts. The beginning of this ride is relatively flat, but there will be hills as we head inland, and there are some long distances to cover. Never underestimate the heat and humidity of tropical Sri Lanka, as it will likely ensure things feel hot. This is a true journey through the finest terrain and scenery of Sri Lanka, with the best culture, nature, and wildlife along the way, ensuring you get the very best of everything from your cycling efforts.

Biking Conditions

The road surfaces are mixed and on most days we ride on reasonably good quality paved roads, but there are enough sections on very badly broken or dirt tracks that you’ll need a mountain bike, preferably one with front suspension. However, there is nothing technical involved on this tour, and anyone, assuming they have a reasonable level of fitness, will be able to join. A support truck is always available to help.

The Bikes

Because some people can’t imagine going on a trip without their own beloved bicycle, we don’t provide them as part of this tour. However, you can hire bikes locally for the price listed in the FAQ section. The bikes are specialised Hard Rock mountain bikes with lightweight alloy frames, 24 to 27 gears, v-brakes, and front suspension. If you bring your own bike, please make sure it is a mountain bike, preferably with front suspension, in good mechanical order.

We also have E-Bikes available for hire. They are SCOTT brand and come in 2 models with alloy frames, 9-11 speed, Shimano disc brakes, and components.

Bike Repairs

Basic spares and tools are carried by the guide and on the support vehicle, though we cannot guarantee having spares for every conceivable problem. Carrying a basic tool kit, a spare tube and a pump while riding is recommended.

Safety

Wearing a helmet is required on all our biking adventures and is non negotiable. If you do not wear a helmet you will not be allowed to cycle. Your tour leader is trained in first aid and emergency rescue, but to a large degree you must be responsible for your own safety while riding. It is therefore compulsory that you take out travel insurance that will cover you for a mountain biking tour.

Guides

You will be led by a local English-speaking guide and if the group is 9 people or more we will add another guide to the tour. All our guides are well informed in the history, culture and religions of the area where you are biking and are skilled at passing that knowledge on to you. Your guide is also medically trained and an experienced cyclist, able to handle most minor repairs en route.

Health

We recommend that you speak to your doctor about any vaccinations you may require, anti malarial treatment options and any other health considerations that are recommended for this destination.

Weather

Sri Lanka has a tropical climate, with distinct dry and wet seasons. The seasons are slightly complicated by having two monsoons. From May to August the Yala monsoon brings rain to the island’s southwestern half and the Maha monsoon blows from October to January, bringing rain to the North and East. There is also an inter-monsoonal period in October and November when rain can occur in many parts of the island. Average temperatures for Colombo and the low-lying coastal regions are 27°C while at the higher altitudes like Kandy (500m), the average temperature is 20°C. A gortex rain jacket and a warm jumper for the central highlands are suggested clothing.

The best months to visit Sri Lanka are from December to March for the west coast, and from April to September for historical sites and the east coast. As we are traveling the length of the country it is likely for us to experience rain, however, it will be warm and we will likely continue riding through it.

Accommodation

The hotels listed are our first choice and where we hope you will stay, however, during festivals or other major events there is a chance we will have to substitute another hotel.

Food

Meals are included as per the itinerary where B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner. Most meals are local and feature rice and curries. Sri Lankan curries come in many varieties of colours and flavours and can be meat- or fish- based dishes, but there are also vegetable and even fruit curries. Many of the spices used have ayurvedic value when used in curries. Meals are a mixture of local and western cuisines, with the local key ingredients being rice, coconut and especially spices, reflecting the island’s history as a spice producer and trading center for hundreds of years. Any special dietary requirements can also be catered for as well. Please let us know at the time of booking.

Drink

Keeping you completely hydrated is a job we take very seriously. Cold water, some energy-restoring local fruit, and soft drinks are included in the tour price while riding. Soft drinks and other beverages during meals are not included. Beer is readily available everywhere but is NOT included in the price.

Solo Travellers

We don’t require you to pay a surcharge for traveling alone. We will arrange for you to share accommodation with another traveler of the same gender and if we can not match you up we will provide a single room at no extra charge. If you prefer not to share a single supplement is payable to guarantee your own room.

Extra Expenses

We recommend that you tuck away a few extra dollars, perhaps £10 a day for incidentals.

Money

The Sri Lankan currency is the rupee (Rs). There are several money changers in the capital as well as major tourist cities and attractions. They generally don’t charge commission and their rates are pretty good, with unlicensed money changers giving slightly better rates than officially licensed ones. However, ATMs are recommended if you are unsure and afraid of getting ripped off. ATMs have spread to all of the cities and major regional centers of Sri Lanka with Commercial Bank having the largest network of ATMs accepting international Visa, MasterCard, and Cirrus/Maestro cards. Any bank or exchange bureau will change major currencies into cash. To get the best rates, change rupees back into hard currency before you leave the country.

 

More Great Biking Tours

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.
  • Tour cycling jersey
  • Water bottle
  • Support vehicle
  • Guide(s)
  • Meals (as indicated)
  • Accommodation
  • Snacks and drinks
What is not included in this tour?Items that are not included in the cost of tour price.
  • International flights
  • Domestic flights
  • Airport pick up
  • Airport drop off
  • Visa fees
  • Alcohol
  • Tips
  1. Overview Overview

    DAY 1
    Arrive in Sri Lanka

    DAY 2
    Negombo – Dambulla

    DAY 3
    Dambulla Loop

    DAY 4
    Dambulla – Polonnaruwa

    DAY 5
    Polonnaruwa – Kandy

    DAY 6
    Kandy Rest Day

    DAY 7
    Kandy – Hatton

    DAY 8
    Hatton – Udawalawa

    DAY 9
    Udawalawe Loop

    DAY 10
    Udawalawa – Mirissa

    DAY 11
    Galle Loop

    DAY 12
    Mirissa – Colombo

  2. Day 1 Arrive in Sri Lanka

    Arrive in Sri Lanka and meet at Goldi Sands Hotel in Negombo for a trip briefing and welcome dinner.

    Goldi Sands
    Dinner
  3. Day 2 Negombo - Dambulla

    After breakfast, we start riding directly from the hotel along the old coast road. Keeping the sea on our left, we pass the distinct patchwork sails of the Karavas fishing community. Their boats pulled up along the beach or sailing just off the coast make for excellent photos as does the many fish markets you’ll cycle past. We leave the coast road after cycling for 30 km and head inland on quiet back roads that give you a flavour of Sri Lanka. After 50 km, we rack up the bikes and transfer 3 hours to Dambulla, breaking for lunch at Kununegala Lake. Dambulla, the 2nd century Buddhist cave temple, also known as the Golden Temple, is the largest and best-preserved cave temple complex in the country and contains more than 150 Buddha statues. Once we have taken in the views from the caves, we have a short transfer or ride to our peaceful hotel situated amongst mango trees and paddy fields.

    Thilanka Spa & Resort
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Ride 54km
    +402m
    -364m
  4. Day 3 Dambulla Loop

    We ride through the countryside on a mix of tarmac and red dirt roads, passing orchards, paddy fields, and elephant grass. Riding along the shores of Kandalama Lake, we have excellent views of the ancient 5th century rock fortress Sigiriya (Lion Rock), our destination. We park the bikes and walk through the old water gardens before climbing 300 m to the view the ruins of King Kasyapa’s summer palace on the summit. To distract us from the walk up, we pass the impressive frescos that depict more than 500 ladies. After our descent, we head to a local restaurant for lunch. Our afternoon ride follows an old irrigation canal, and we cycle on red dirt roads, framed by long green grass, and see lots of people bathing as we head back to our hotel in Dambulla.

    Thilanka Spa & Resort
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Ride 60km
    +555m
    -578m
  5. Day 4 Dambulla - Polonnaruwa

    Riding from the hotel, we have a bit of an ascent over the Kaladuwa Hills. The riding is on a good road surface, but wild elephants have been known to cross the road on the descent, so please beware. We ride on a tree-lined road that is part of a forest reserve until we reach Polonnaruwa Tank, a very large manmade lake, and lunch at a local hotel. We then ride through the historic park of Polonnaruwa, the 10th century capital and best preserved of the ancient cities. Abandoned in the 13th century, it was rediscovered in the 18th century and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Brahmanic monuments built by the Cholas and the chiselled stone monuments show us the glory of the ancient Rajarata Kingdom. After seeing the main sites, we have a 20-minute transfer to our hotel on the banks of the reservoir.

    Deer Park
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Ride 78km
    +538m
    Riding from the hotel, we have a bit of an ascent over the Kaladuwa Hills. The riding is on a good road surface, but wild elephants have been known to cross the road on the descent, so please beware. We ride on a tree-lined road that is part of a forest reserve until we reach Polonnaruwa Tank, a very large manmade lake, and lunch at a local hotel. We then ride through the historic park of Polonnaruwa, the 10th century capital and best preserved of the ancient cities. Abandoned in the 13th century, it was rediscovered in the 18th century and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Brahmanic monuments built by the Cholas and the chiselled stone monuments show us the glory of the ancient Rajarata Kingdom. After seeing the main sites, we have a 20-minute transfer to our hotel on the banks of the reservoir.
    Deer Park
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Ride 78km
    +538m
    -655m
  6. Day 5 Polonnaruwa - Kandy

    A short transfer takes us back to Polonnaruwa, where we ride around the huge lake known as the Sea of Parakrama, named after the great king who built it. Part of the ride is through Angammedilla National Park, built to protect the water source. This small forest reserve is an elephant corridor linking Minneriya and Wasgomuwa National Parks. Here we retrace part of yesterday’s ride, following the Ambon Ganga (river) back towards its start point in the foothills around Naula, said to be the centre of the Island. We end the ride here to avoid busy roads and transfer to lunch in Matale, situated in Sri Lanka’s spice-growing region, and on to Kandy, the spiritual and cultural capital of the hill country and Sri Lanka’s second largest city.

    Thilanka Hotel Kandy
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Ride 75km
    +620m
    -381m
  7. Day 6 Kandy Rest Day

    Nestled among hills and centred around a lake, picturesque Kandy has long been an important religious centre of the Sinhalese and a place of pilgrim-age for Buddhists. Today, you can explore the town centre’s old shops, antique and gem specialists, or the bustling market. A must see is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic – Sri Lanka’s most important Buddhist relic, a tooth of the Buddha.

    Thilanka Hotel Kandy
    Breakfast
  8. Day 7 Kandy - Hatton

    After a day of rest, we are ready to tackle hill country. For those who enjoy riding but find hills a bit too challenging, there is the option of taking the train for the final part into Hatton. A short 8-km transfer takes us out of town to Peradeniya, famed for its Botanical Garden and university. Starting the ride from the campus, we wind our way along a river valley with some short climbs opening out to the surrounding vistas, with our first tea stop in Gampola 21 km away; the optional train journey begins here. From Gampola, we start to see the tea carpeted slopes of the hill country. Riding at a gentle pace, you can stop to take photos of brightly dressed tea pickers and colourful Hindu temples. We regroup at the tea outlets brewing the best tea on the island, fresh from their respective estates. Reaching Hatton, we descend to one of the old colonial tea planter bungalows set in lovely gardens. Those taking the train will be met at the station and shuttled to the bungalow.

    Upper Glencairn Bungalow
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Ride 78km
    +1530m
    -891m
  9. Day 8 Hatton - Udawalawa

    Today’s ride will be along tea estate tracks, through the heart of Sri Lanka’s tea growing region. You’ll be greeted by the pickers at work and their children as we head towards the Peak Wilderness and the distinctive triangle shaped mountain, known as Adam’s Peak. The long climb with an easy gradient up to Bogowantalawa gets tougher for the last 10 km to a remote pass with dramatic views. The mountain pass is part of the Peak Forest Reserve; its distinctive stunted forest contains many rare, endemic plants as well as the shy bear monkey more often heard than seen. The reward for the long climb is a stunning 30 km, 1000 m descent through small villages and tea communities, ending close to Banlangoda. After lunch at a local restaurant, we pack our bikes and transfer to our hotel on the edge of Udawalawe National Park, set on the banks of a lake.

    Elephant Trails
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Ride 58km
    +1040m
    -1675m
  10. Day 9 Udawalawe Loop

    Riding from the hotel, we cycle 21 km to Udawalawe National Park, one of the best parks to see wild elephants in Sri Lanka. The park, centred around a reservoir, has approximately 400 elephants in small herds scattered around the park, and mid-morning is a good time to see them close to the water’s edge. We may also see wild buffaloes, crocodiles, sambur deer, and monkeys. There are lots of resident water fowl and hawk eagles to keep the photographers happy. We lunch in a nearby eco lodge and then mount our bicycles to follow an irrigation canal back towards our hotel.

    Elephant Trails
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Ride 52km
    +415m
    -414m
  11. Day 10 Udawalawa - Mirissa

    Riding from the hotel, we use a network of back roads for some fantastic cross-country riding. Here you get to experience southern Sri Lankan charm – lots of smiling faces and a slow pace of life. It’s quite a long, undulating ride, with lots of fruit stops to break up the day. Be sure to try one of the 14 varieties of bananas in Sri Lanka, each with its own taste and medicinal qualities, to give you energy. We try to get to the beach by the early afternoon, leaving you free time to enjoy the beach or a nearby surf camp. We will dine at one of the many nearby restaurants in the evening.

    Mandara Mirissa
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Ride 81km
    +844m
    -932m
  12. Day 11 Galle Loop

    Cycling through open paddy fields and cinnamon estates, we arrive in Galle mid-morning, giving you plenty of time to explore this historic masterpiece. The Dutch expanded the original fort to its present size, and later the British added the court complex and several other outstanding buildings. The different architectural and cultural influences meld to create a magnificent sight. You are free to choose your own lunch. and we meet up again for a farewell dinner.

    Mandara Mirissa
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Ride 39km
    +237m
    -233m
  13. Day 12 Mirissa – Colombo

    We transfer 3 hours to Colombo where we can drop you at the airport or to a hotel if you are extending your stay in Sri Lanka.

    Breakfast

Activity Level: Moderate

Average fitness required, but OK for most people.

This ride is for those who have some biking experience, as well as experts. The beginning of this ride is relatively flat, but there will be hills as we head inland, and there are some long distances to cover. Never underestimate the heat and humidity of tropical Sri Lanka, as it will likely ensure things feel hot. This is a true journey through the finest terrain and scenery of Sri Lanka, with the best culture, nature, and wildlife along the way, ensuring you get the very best of everything from your cycling efforts.

Mountain Bike: £166

SCOTT E-Bike: £332

Total cycling distance
575km

Avg distance / day
64km

Avg climbing / day
687m

Overall Rating
5/5
Susan Barnard
Reviewed On 20/04/2018
5/5

Great way to see Sri Lanka. Wonderful guides.

Filippo Di Mauro
Reviewed On 01/04/2018
5/5

Excellent combination of biking, visiting sites and eating local foods. A great way to see the country.

Harold Hart III
Reviewed On 11/03/2018
5/5

Sri Lanka is an amazingly beautiful country with equally amazing people and beautiful people. I have taken many cycling tour in Asia and Chan was by far the best leader I have had the pleasure of riding with.

LEAVE YOUR COMMENT